​​​​Indigenous Fellowship Programme – English language programme

Deadline: 30 August 2019
Open to: indigenous men and women
Benefits: return ticket and monthly stipend


The Indigenous Fellowship Programme was launched in 1997 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the context of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The aim of the programme is to give indigenous persons the opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights issues in general and indigenous issues in particular. Trained participants are better equipped to assist their organisations and communities in protecting and promoting their rights. This training programme is available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian.

The English language component of the Indigenous Fellowship Programme (IFP) was established in 1997. It takes place at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland and lasts for 4 weeks, usually coinciding with the annual meeting of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).

The objective of this training programme is to enhance the knowledge of indigenous peoples on existing international human rights instruments and mechanisms, so they can use them to more effectively advocate for the rights of their communities and raise their concerns at the international level. At the end of the Programme, trained fellows are also in a better position to share and give training sessions on the knowledge gained to their indigenous communities and organizations.

The training combines theoretical sessions with briefings on the UN system, OHCHR mandate and activities, international Human Rights instruments (Treaties, Conventions, Declarations) and mechanisms (Human Rights Council, Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures) – including those more specifically dealing with indigenous issues (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO Convention 169, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, EMRIP). Practical assignments and exercises also help better integrate the theory. Fellows are also given the opportunity to actively participate in the annual meeting of EMRIP. Additionally, they get introduced to the work of other UN and specialized agencies (ILO, WIPO, UNESCO, UNICEF) and of Geneva based Human Rights NGOs, including DoCip.


Only indigenous men and women may apply for the Programme. Non-indigenous persons will not be considered even if they work for an indigenous organization.
Indigenous peoples share some or all of the following identifying characteristics:

  • Descendants of the peoples who inhabited a land or territory prior to colonization or the establishment of State borders;
  • Distinct social, economic and political systems, languages, cultures and beliefs;
  • Determined to maintain and develop this distinct identity;
  • Strong attachment to their ancestral lands and the natural resources therein;
  • Belong to the non-dominant groups of a society and identify themselves as indigenous peoples.

The candidate

  • Should be proposed and the candidacy supported by his/her indigenous organization or community;
  • Should have a good working knowledge of English, French, Russian or Spanish, languages in which the Programme is conducted;
  • Should be willing and able to train other indigenous persons upon return to their respective communities/organizations.


Participants of the Fellowship Programme are entitled to the following: a return ticket (economy class) from their country of residence to Geneva; a daily or monthly stipend to cover their basic needs in Geneva, including modest accommodation, food and transport; a basic health insurance for the duration of the Programme. OHCHR will not cover any additional expenses such as visa fees and travel insurance.

How to apply?

Fellowship applications will only be taken into consideration if they are fully completed.

Both parts I and II of the application form must be signed and sent by regular post at the following

Mr. Morse Caoagas Flores
Coordinator, Indigenous Fellowship Programme
Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
48, Avenue Giuseppe-Motta, Office 2-05
CH-1211 Geneva 10

You can find the application form and more information about the program on the official website.